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Research

by Tom Klein on May 1st, 2014

It is easier today than ever to do research with Al Gore’s invention, the Internet. I was writing a story placed at the U.S. Embasy in Rome and with Google I could see how many feet of grass to cross to reach the fence. Fiction sprinkled with a little truth makes it that much more believable and why invent the details when you can see them. YResearches, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

But I don’t recommend becoming a Google researcher all of the time. I wrote a story about an ex-Army Sergeant and had a friend of mine, an ex-Army Captain give it a proof read. He liked it except I used a Sergeant rank reserved for the Marines instead of the Army. Oops. He then went on to tell me that there are no ex-Marines (unless court-martialed out), some point of pride. Its a point of pride brought on by more pushups and grunting. He also said “His having crooked teeth is damn accurate.  I never saw so many screwed up grills as when I was in the service.  Good lord, some of those dudes must chew sideways.” Yes, that’s filed away for some future story. You better believe it!

There was another story written about an ambulance ride and I talked to a couple of St. Charles Paramedics. I know them because I’m on the board at SCCAD but they are good people and would be glad to listen and lend a hand to anyone telling a story about EMS (as long as their not busy saving a life at the time.)

I have a friend who writes romance novels placed in the wild west. How you could ever write that stuff 30 years ago is beyond me. How you write a romance novel period is beyond me but that’s not the point. Google has brought a million bits of information (yes, I said ‘bits’) to our finger tips but picking up the phone, writing an email or taking drive over to see someone who knows, really knows the subject can give you that extra gloss that makes your next story shine. Once you get someone talking on a subject, you may get more than you asked for and those gems, whether you use them today or in a future piece, will make the time and effort all worth while.

There is nothing like research, finding the truth, good solid truth to wrap your fiction around. It makes it believable, enjoyable and successful.

 

 

 

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